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Old 08-08-2019, 08:12 PM   #1
Skoolie
 
Join Date: Mar 2017
Location: Pasadena Tx
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Making them highway friendly........

You have a bus. Taking any one of the inline 6's,(because let's face it, everyone has their own favorite) coupled to an Allison 545AT (with the future ability to upgrade to a 643), what's the 1st thing you do to make it more "highway" friendly? By that I mean getting better milage, not having the thing screaming like a porn queen in her best film yet, and keeping it with in the comfort zone of RPM's and a speed of no more than 65. I only say 65 because the old 55 is now 65. That and that's the most you want or need to push these things anyway. I'm curious to see what kind of responses I'll get.
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:17 PM   #2
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I would start with a quality transmission cooler to try and keep that 545 alive for any period of time. Rear gear and trans swap will be great for fuel improvement and highway travel. I constantly want to and need to travel at over 70mph, absolutely nothing unsafe about it.
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:28 PM   #3
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By no means am I saying it's unsafe traveling over 65. But let's face it, most of the time you're on vacation. Unless you're the Grizwalds, there's rarely need for it.
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Old 08-08-2019, 08:49 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimburke77502 View Post
You have a bus. Taking any one of the inline 6's,(because let's face it, everyone has their own favorite) coupled to an Allison 545AT (with the future ability to upgrade to a 643), what's the 1st thing you do to make it more "highway" friendly? By that I mean getting better milage, not having the thing screaming like a porn queen in her best film yet, and keeping it with in the comfort zone of RPM's and a speed of no more than 65. I only say 65 because the old 55 is now 65. That and that's the most you want or need to push these things anyway. I'm curious to see what kind of responses I'll get.
Gearing. Buses are almost always geared for stop and go driving. Swap in some highway capable gearing for better mpg's and less rpm's.
As Marc pointed out- a cooler can help.
I've got a 545 with 3.42 in the rear and my bus is great. If/when the 545 goes I'll upgrade.
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Old 08-08-2019, 09:53 PM   #5
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To start with.... I would be looking for a bus already equipped with the drivetrane that you want.

I wanted an 8.3 Cummins and a MD-3060. It took me 18 months to successfully buy one at auction.

I paid $3450 for it and it is in great shape.

If I had bought a similar bus with a 5.9 and AT-545 for a bargain. Say $2000. What would I spend swapping engine and transmission? Probably $6k to $15k depending on how well I shopped the parts and how much of the work I was able to do myself.

Well equipped buses are a bargain when you take your time and wait for them.

Good luck.
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Old 08-09-2019, 03:02 AM   #6
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I agree with all but personally am in the same camp as PNW_Steve. It's much easier to just buy what powertrain you want straight away than piecemeal it but plan to pay a little more for it. In the end though i think you spend less and save your sanity.
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Old 08-09-2019, 05:59 AM   #7
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I don't think some are getting the point her. It's the bus with the aforementioned drivetrain that you have. I fully understand waiting for the right one to come along, totally understandable. Let's throw another variable in here. Let's say that you're undecided on whether or not you want to go automatic or stick. Finding a stick bus, you're gonna be waiting a long while. I'm quite sure there's someone here that's retro fitted a stick into a bus. I'm quite sure finding the right donor vehicle for all the right parts is easier. Anyone who's done this care to chime in? What trans did you decide to go with? Any major hurdles that you faced doing the swap? I only ask because it is a viable option. A side note here. The bus was at a price you couldn't pass up. So the changes are more affordable.
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:16 AM   #8
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As already suggested, change the gear ratio of the rear axle. Keep in mind that the MT643 does not have OD either. You are just adding a locking torque converter.

The advantage of truck/bus differentials is that ring, pinion, and bearings are mounted and pre-adjusted in what is called the carrier. That's what you unbolt from the axle after pulling out the half-shafts.

Search the local truck salvage yard for a compatible carrier with a numerically lower ratio. You can use the rpm calculators on one of the off-road sites to determine the most suitable ratio.

Once you found the right carrier, check the health of the bearings and the adjustment on the bench and then install it in your axle. Driveshaft should fit without modifications.

That is a cheap and straight forward upgrade to make a bus more highway friendly.

Don't forget the transmission cooler and quality transmission fluid (I had good results with TranSynd) since the longer axle ratio will cause more converter slip in the AT545.
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Old 08-09-2019, 07:46 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimburke77502 View Post
You have a bus. Taking any one of the inline 6's,(because let's face it, everyone has their own favorite) coupled to an Allison 545AT (with the future ability to upgrade to a 643), what's the 1st thing you do to make it more "highway" friendly? By that I mean getting better milage, not having the thing screaming like a porn queen in her best film yet, and keeping it with in the comfort zone of RPM's and a speed of no more than 65. I only say 65 because the old 55 is now 65. That and that's the most you want or need to push these things anyway. I'm curious to see what kind of responses I'll get.
First thing I'm doing is checking the tires. If it's an older bus using split rims, I'm upgrading those to one piece wheels and a taller tire in the process. I'm doing that more for safety and commonality of parts, but that upgrade to a taller tire could be considered making it more "highway friendly".

The next upgrade depends on which of the following I can find first.

The first option that I would be interested in doing is swapping rear gear sets. Follow that with the mt643 or at1545 swap and you're in business for a highway cruiser.

However, the option I would prefer to do is to swap the at545 with an md3060 taken out of a wreck or salvage yard. Reason I specify where the md3060 is taken from is because you'll also need the shifter, computers, wiring harness, and other related bits that will get super expensive to source separately.

The md3060 will give you a double OD, so no need to change rear gear sets, but I think I could find the first option easier then the second.

But, at the end of the day, it's easier and cheaper to buy a bus already set up and ready to go for highway speeds. If highway speeds is one of your big issues, fight the urge to spring on the first bus you see and wait for the right one. Search far and wide for it, and don't be afraid to bid more then a normal bus for it. That is something that I cannot stress enough to prospective owners.
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Old 08-09-2019, 11:47 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jimburke77502 View Post
I don't think some are getting the point her. It's the bus with the aforementioned drivetrain that you have. I fully understand waiting for the right one to come along, totally understandable. Let's throw another variable in here. Let's say that you're undecided on whether or not you want to go automatic or stick. Finding a stick bus, you're gonna be waiting a long while. I'm quite sure there's someone here that's retro fitted a stick into a bus. I'm quite sure finding the right donor vehicle for all the right parts is easier. Anyone who's done this care to chime in? What trans did you decide to go with? Any major hurdles that you faced doing the swap? I only ask because it is a viable option. A side note here. The bus was at a price you couldn't pass up. So the changes are more affordable.


standard transmissions are quite common behind a number of different motors in Canada - check out kIjIjI, especially the 3 western provinces
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